Man City vs Liverpool Player Ratings

Manchester City's title hopes were dealt another blow as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by a spirited Liverpool side.

Should Garcia not open his eyes when heading?

By FOX SPORTS Staff

Following league leaders Manchester United's 1-0 win at Fulham on Saturday, the Citizens knew they had to win in order to keep up the pressure on their arch-rivals, and things got off to the perfect start for Roberto Mancini's men when striker Edin Dzeko turned in James Milner's cross from close range to put the defending league champions in the lead.

The Reds however took only six minutes to reply, and it was former City player Daniel Sturridge who did the damage as he fired in an unstoppable shot from 25 yards which left Joe Hart grasping at air. 

Brendan Rodgers' men dominated proceedings from there on and were duly rewarded when captain Steven Gerrard's brilliant half-volley from 35 yards nestled into the bottom corner of the City net to put the Reds in the lead.

Just when it seemed like City would suffer a loss, striker Sergio Aguero took full advantage of Liverpool custodian Pepe Reina's inexplicable decision to rush out of his line, and the Argentinian sent in a looping shot from a tight angle to even things up for the Citizens.

Here, FOXSportsAsia.com takes a look at the players from Sunday's game at the Etihad Stadium. 

Manchester City

Joe Hart - 6.5

This was not one of Hart's better displays. The England number one's decision making in this game was suspect and he was never in control of his penalty area. There also seemed to be a lack of communication between him and his defenders, but he did redeem himself with a good low save to deny Sturridge from scoring late in the game.

Pablo Zabaleta - 7

Zabaleta was named City's captain in the absence of the injured Vincent Kompany, and he proved led his side from the back well with an action-packed, all-round performance. The highlight of Zabaleta's game was his fantastic sliding block to deny Daniel Sturridge from scoring a simple tap-in early in the game.

Matija Nastasic (55' off) - 4

Nastasic can have no complaints to have been hauled off as early as he was after his substandard defending allowed the likes of Suarez and Sturridge to find acres of space to exploit behind him. He was often caught ball watching when defending set-pieces and made several schoolboy errors which presented possession to Liverpool in dangerous areas.

Joleon Lescott - 7

Lescott was nearly unbeatable in the air and headed away numerous crosses into his penalty box. He was a steady presence at the back for his side, and showed great tactical awareness to cover for the error-prone Nastasic when needed.

Gael Clichy - 6.5

The former Arsenal player put in an energetic shift down the left flank and did remarkably well to keep Suarez in check whenever the Uruguayan drifted down his flank.

James Milner - 8

Milner may not have been the most technically gifted player on the pitch, but he more than made up for it by running his socks off for City. The England international got himself an assist after he set up Dzeko to score a simple tap-in with a brilliant drilled low cross.

Javi Garcia - 4.5

The jury is still out on whether Garcia, who joined City during the summer, has what it takes to succeed in the rough and tumble of the Premier League. The Spain international showed glimpses of his quality with several good raking passes, but his defensive work in the middle of the pitch left a lot to be desired as he was often caught out of position, allowing Liverpool to run through the middle of the pitch with ease time and again. He was also culpable for Liverpool's equalising goal as he made a hash of a simple clearance and presented Sturridge with the opportunity to fire at goal.

Gareth Barry (73' off) - 4

Barry had little or no impact for City and he was largely made to look pedestrian in midfield by the pace and mobility of Liverpool's attack. The former Aston Villa player saw very little of the ball, lost possession too easily, and was completely outshone by his England team-mate Gerrard.

David Silva (73' off) - 7.5

There is no doubt that in Silva, City have one of the most creative and talented attacking midfielders in the world. The 27-year-old helped City pull the strings in attack and created several good goalscoring chances for his team-mates. His accurate delivery from set-pieces also proved to be a potent outlet of attack for City, and he can be very pleased with his overall contribution in this game.

Edin Dzeko - 7.5

It is inconceivable now that City were on the brink of selling Dzeko during the summer. The Bosnian has been one of the Citizens' shining stars this season, and he once again proved his worth for Roberto Mancini's men as he opened the scoring with a predatory effort.

Sergio Aguero - 9

Aguero took some time to get into the game, but he was near unstoppable when he got into full flow. The Argentinian used his pace and agility to great effect, driving forward at the Liverpool defence with purpose and he played a huge part in easing the pressure on his side by forcing the Reds' midfield to drop back to contain his threat. Aguero capped his fantastic performance for City with a magnificent goal, calmly rounding Reina and sending a looping shot into the net from a very tight angle to secure a valuable point for his side.

Substitutions

Aleksandar Kolarov (55' on) - 6

Kolarov was brought on to add some defensive steel into the City backline, but he made very little impact after being introduced and was wasteful with his set-pieces.

Maicon (73' on) - 6.5

Maicon's introduction into the game provided City with some much needed width, and the former Inter Milan player managed to get himself heavily involved in several dangerous looking attacks despite being on the pitch for only a short period of time.

Samir Nasri (87' off) - N/A

Liverpool 

Pepe Reina - 3

Reina will be painted as the pantomime villain after his horrendous blunder allowed Aguero to score City's equalising goal. His rash and foolish decision to charge way out of his line in an attempt to close down Aguero backfired in spectacular fashion as the Argentinian rounded him and put the ball into an empty net.

Glen Johnson - 6.5

Much derided for being defensively suspect, Johnson showed great discipline to curb his attacking instincts and made several good tackles to win back possession for his side.

Jose Enrique (74' off) - 7

Liverpool fans must have heaved a sigh of relief to have seen Enrique's name on the team sheet ahead of the inexperienced Wisdom, and the 27-year-old did not disappoint, putting himself about in defence and doing excellently to peg back City's defence with his overlapping runs.

Daniel Agger - 8

The Liverpool centre-back was a rock at the back for his side, cutting out numerous dangerous looking City attacks and doing very well to nullify the threats of Aguero and Dzeko. He made more than a few crucial interceptions for his side and hardly put a foot wrong in the game.

Jamie Carragher - 7

Eyebrows were inevitably raised when Carragher was chosen ahead of Martin Skrtel, but the veteran centre-back proved his doubters wrong with a solid shift at the back for the Reds. The former England international used his vast experience to great effect and managed to cut out several promising looking City attacks.

Lucas - 7

Lucas showed signs of returning to his best as he effectively won and recycled possession for his side in his role as the deepest lying midfielder for the Reds. The Brazilian read the game very well and made several

Steven Gerrard - 9

Gerrard scored what was surely the best Premier League goal of the week with one of his typically beautiful long-range strikes from 35 yards out which nestled accurately into the bottom corner of the City net. Apart from his wonderful goal, Gerrard was at his dominant best in the middle of the pitch and he was at the heart of everything good the Reds did.

Jordan Henderson - 8

Henderson quietly went about his business disrupting City's play in the middle of the pitch and dovetailed excellently with Gerrard to control the midfield. His passing, while unspectacular, was simple, and this helped the Reds to retain a large amount of possession.

Stewart Downing - 8

There is no doubt that Downing has finally settled in at Liverpool as the left-footed England international showed great industry down the right flank, supporting both his side's attack and defence in equal measure. The 28-year-old was one of the most consistent players on the pitch, frequently sending in dangerous crosses into the box which had the City defence scrambling to clear and making a few important tackles in defence to stop City's attack.

Luis Suarez - 7

It was an uncharacteristically profligate display by Suarez, who spurned numerous good chances to score early in the game. Although his finishing was wayward, the Uruguayan did prove to be a huge threat to the City defence, and his quick feet allowed him to easily ghost past City's defence several times.

Daniel Sturridge (91' off) - 9

This was possibly Sturridge's best performance for Liverpool since he joined the club at the start of January. The 23-year-old was a livewire for the Reds throughout the game, combining well with Suarez and helping stretch City's defence with his clever off-the-ball running. It was no surprise that Sturridge managed to get himself on the scoresheet, as he fired in a beautifully struck shot from 25 yards out which went left Hart with no chance.

Substitutions

Martin Skrtel (74' on) - 6.5

Skrtel looked calm and assured in defence when he came on and made a few vital tackles to stop City from making inroads.

Joe Allen (91' on) - N/A



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